Sunday, 12 November 2017

ohhhh this might be good

Friendlyarm are one of my favorite companies, they are pushing a lot of boundaries with their range, they don't always hit it, but at least they try. Their old M3 and T3 boards are amazingly fast, though of course suffer a little from very old GPU's. But that power might make it possible to do more than a few things to ease the load on the GPU.

That said, the GPU is at a disadvantage anyway because of the usual, lack of drivers. So I'm really excited to see 2 new revisions of the M2 and M3, now packed in the smaller Fire3 and Fire2A format.
Allegedly with GPU acceleration.

If thats true then this little board could be one of the fastest machines under $40, graphics won't be a massive change, but it will be fun to use. I've got both the models heading over to me. I'll see how they stack up. I "think" the chip is a Mali 400, it might not even be  an MP2, quite possibly a single...ugg....but 8CPU cores, if they don't burn up and throttle will be wonderful.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Vim2 and OrangePi Prime

Got both of these in the last few days
Can't really say too much about them yet, the Khadas VIM2 is in theory a monster system, with an Octocore CPU and Mali 820 (not sure of the cores). It comes supplied with Android and I have to say its nippy as hell. I will try install Ubuntu, and give a report on its driver availability.
The VIM2 forums though are awful,  very hard to find anything so it might be a while before I get to it.

The OrangePi Prime is a Allwinner H5, with a Mali450. no idea if the previous post notice about GPU drivers will apply to this 64bit system. Of course Debian as supplied had no drivers, and attempts to install them went a bit off, so I'm having a go at installing Ubuntu.
I will say though while using it the Debian install was quite light but noticeably nippy.

Ubuntu installed, it does have GL, but no GLES2 libs so I installed Mesa, however GLMark2-es2 installed and runs it, but as usual it appears to be software emulated as its painfully slow, with a pitiful score of 15, oh well I'll see if the Allwinner gpu fix works on it.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

oh finally

this is very good news

OpenGLES will now be available, in the near future, on Allwinners range of SOC.

There are a lot of SBC's using Allwinner chips, and with this announcement we should start to see new versions of Linux with OpenGLES available. That will be a massive boost to anyone doing graphic coding.

This mainly impacts on the Orange and Banana range, Nano/FriendlyArm tend to use Samsung chips so it wont' be a direct benefit for them, but who knows it might encourage them to allow release of the binaries.

Monday, 25 September 2017

NanoPi K2

Friendly arm, have very kindly supplied me with a couple of K2 boards along with cases/heatsinks etc.
I must say thank you to them for sending them as I was keen to try it out.

This is potentially a very nice machine, an Amlogic S905 powered quad core with Mali 5 core 450 GPU, Essentially the same basic layout as the Odroid C2 which I managed to get working but I think the drivers are emulated so it was curiously slow.

However at the moment the K2 is limited to an Android system, and a fairly basic one at that, and I can't find developer options to allow me to access it. I will have to wait for some more uptodate images, or a working Linux image, probably from Armbian.

Running in Android it is quite nippy, but a few problems exist, it does not seem to connect to the internet via a cable, and sadly Kodi, its main reason for existing, crashes and refuses to run. So....well that's a bit upsetting. I will try it on a wifi later.

If we get a linux that works, I will review it again later, for now, it has to exist only as a potentially cool board that should trounce the RPi, but may again be let down by the lack of drivers.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Machines coming on line

As I've noted a few times I have quite a collection of different machines, but the fact is not all of them are suitable for games. Quite some number for example do not have their OpenGLES libs in place and Mesa does not always manage to replace the missing parts.

I've only done a few basic test systems on most of my machines, and looking back now its clear that some need a bit more effort. But I have got a multi config demo up and running now, and it's very cool to plug in a machine, make a few small alterations to a config and get it working.

I will be posting a list of all machines that are compatible, out of the box, and which need some extra attention.

So far I've managed to get all the Raspberries all up and running with no problems at all but also the,
NanoPi M1 // not a hard one
Odroid C2 // really easy but slower than I expected, I might need to look into that
Up2 fast but some issues with shaders to research
Odroid XU4  // had some strange issues and need to add  -DGL_GLEXT_PROTOTYPES to the cc flags but once done its up and running and fast as hell
OrangePi PC2 needed a bit of coaxing but in the end does work, but software emulation of the GPU is happening and its very slow.

But also failed miserably with a few others.
Banana Pi M3.. no graphic drivers
NanoPi M3 no graphic drivers (shame as its bloody fast)
NanoPi M2 No graphics
Orange Pi Pc
BananaPi M1(original) hard work, tried multiple things, but code compiles,it just refuses to run,

Tinkerboard... I don't have a 3A unit here, so will have to pick one up.
Olimex A20 Lime... couldn't get it to boot into linux...grrr lots of time wasted

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Streamer must wait

The new streamer I got to grab video images, hopefully in real time with coding, failed.. The drivers simply don't work, and there seems to be no way to get new ones, the website referenced in the manual is down, I don't know for how long

oh well the USB one is quite usable, I just need to edit things a bit more carefull.

Book proof reading/fixing is almost done, the publisher will get a final version this week, and then its all up to them. I hope.....

Thursday, 31 August 2017

testing video

here's a short video to demonstrate a simple Line of Sight occlusion system.
I'm just trying out my video capture unit at the moment, no sound as yet though. I need to find a small mic to put sound in it

Since there's no sound, I'll explain, each character becomes the target of a ray cast from the player (which would normally hold the FPS camera), if the Ray hits the character it is white and the character displays. If a wall gets between the the character and the ray, the ray turns red to indicate it hit a wall and the character is not drawn, saving quite some amount of GPU time.
One character is actually being detected but not displaying, I'm not actually sure why, some small bug somewhere I suspect.

The system is pretty basic, and only a single ray is firing, for total accuracy you would fire at the extreme corners and only exclude the model if all 4 rays hit the wall. But ray casts on this are not cheap, so if you can get away with one, its better.

The ray is always being cast wherever you are in the map, to indicate that the draw system for that model is indeed still running but not drawing. A Distance or Frustum cull would probably also be used before a ray cast was done to reduce the amount of maths being done.